Revealed: The Real Reason Why Zac Efron Was Picked to Play Ted Bundy

Serial killers are the hottest thing in entertainment right now, from books to TV shows to movies. One of the movies that has been generating the most buzz over the past several months, even in advance of its release is the film Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile. The film tells the tale of Ted Bundy, the American serial killer who was able to disarm his victims (and many others) with his charm and clean-cut good looks. When the actor who would be bringing Bundy to life on screen was revealed, fans were shocked, to say the least.

Who is playing Ted Bundy?

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile features an all-star cast, including Jeffrey Donovan, Morgan Pyle, and Lily Collins, daughter of Phil Collins, as Bundy’s girlfriend. Zac Efron, the all-American heartthrob who first shot to fame in the popular Disney Channel franchise High School Musical, will be playing Ted Bundy. 

Efron, with his trademark blend of charm, good looks, and affable nature, would at first glance seem like the last choice to play such a distasteful character. The young actor has distinguished himself over the years mainly for his work in romantic films, comedies, and musicals, with a few roles in dramatic films like Charlie St. Cloud and The Lucky One. In a world where child stars often grow up to become embroiled in drama, scandal, and controversy, Efron has managed to stay on the straight and narrow, keeping his personal life under wraps while growing in his career. Thus, it seems even stranger that Efron was chosen to portray such a frightening, animalistic character.

When the casting of Efron was announced, there was some immediate backlash on social media, with some fans claiming that Efron was far too good-looking to play such an evil man and that perhaps choosing someone well-known for his looks would send the wrong message in a movie about a serial murderer. 

Why was Zac Efron chosen to play Ted Bundy?

Zac Efron
Zac Efron | Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

Zac Efron has become popular for his acting skills as well as for his undeniable good looks. His ability to fully inhabit a character seems to be the reason that Joe Berlinger, the director of Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile, settled on Efron to play the lead role in his controversial movie. In a recent interview, Berlinger revealed that it was Efron’s acting ability that ultimately led him to pursue Efron for the role of Ted Bundy. 

Berlinger admits that he always intended to cast a good-looking actor to play Bundy because it was precisely that quality about Bundy that led him to lead the public into thinking he was just another normal guy. Berlinger went on to point out that those who seem charming and without flaw on the outside often hide perverse secrets, so Efron’s good looks lend themselves perfectly to the part.

When does the movie come out?

Netflix recently acquired the rights to Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile, and the film is set to release on the platform in late 2019. The film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in late January 2019 and has already started to receive positive reviews, mainly from critics praising Efron’s incredible performance. 

The fascination with serial killer shows and movies isn’t likely to end anytime soon, and if the advance notices for Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile are any indication, the new wave will usher in not only a new decade in entertainment but a new career direction for Zac Efron. You can watch Efron’s performance for yourself when the film releases to Netflix later this year, exact release date yet to be announced.